The Pale Red Dot: A Surviving Mars LP

Ooh, I love fun things! (Games, both video and traditional, discussion. looser posting styles allowed)

Moderator: Fizzbuzz

DaikatunaRevengeance
User avatar
Rarity's Roughnecks
Posts: 297
Joined: Sun Jul 07, 2019 8:28 am
Gender: Female
Location: FLAVATOWN

Re: The Pale Red Dot: A Surviving Mars LP

Post by DaikatunaRevengeance (?) » Fri May 01, 2020 5:47 am

Pretty :allears:
ImageImage Image Image

;) ❤️ :twasnothin: ❤️ :fancyhat:

Mechanical Ape
User avatar
Posts: 454
Joined: Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:23 pm
Gender: Male

Re: The Pale Red Dot: A Surviving Mars LP

Post by Mechanical Ape (?) » Sat May 02, 2020 3:48 pm

As a side note, this is when I learned that Moisture Vaporators work fine during Cold Waves and I was wrong earlier. That's great news because it means I don't have to build heaters near them. :fluttercite:

Image

I won't dwell too much on disasters; they're a regular occurrence, we've seen 'em before and we know what they do. They're worth screencapping if I can get a pretty picture out of it, or when something out of the ordinary happens. Like now!

Image

2052's cold wave was the first for New Edinburgh and its residents, and to make matters worse, the dome's heating system failed catastrophically. Fortunately, backup heaters were brought online and at no point was anyone in danger. This didn't prevent panicbait headlines such as "For Colonists, An Icy Fate Awaits" from news sites on Earth, even when New Edinburgh's staff posted videos of themselves saying hi, we're actually fine up here. Still, the mechanical problem needed addressing.

Replacing the central heater would be expensive, but relying on backup heaters would waste power. The choice was an easy one: the colony had plenty of machine parts, whereas power was in short supply. While it took three weeks for the drones to complete the job, normal heating was restored as soon as possible.

Image

Ditching the backup heaters was the right move. Cold waves are a strain on the power supply, and reserves wouldn't last unless the grid was expanded, so a row of large wind turbines was installed on the colony's southern edge. These installations are the Red Planet's biggest fans.

Image

It was a hard few months for the miners of New Edinburgh. Between the brownouts, the cold and the daily stress of working outside, pressures were high; but everyone toughed it out with gumption and a bit of liquid courage from O2. It's not quite Frostpunk but it'll do.
Johanna Morgen, Geologist wrote:In the end, nobody lost their mind. And what more could you hope for?

Image

And when the thaw came, everyone -- in both domes -- came out stronger for the experience.

Image

2053: Huey's operators send him far from the colony to build the sensor tower network. Technically the nanites do all the building; Huey just schleps the materials. In the background on the far right, you can see the colony, and in the background on the left you can see the next tower he's headed to.

Image

Only one of these new towers is up when the next dust storm is detected, but every bit of advance warning is a gain.

Meanwhile, back at the colony the drones complete Dome #3 in late 2053. Sited near New Edinburgh, it will provide additional housing for a new wave of colonists ... and perhaps, in the near future, their children? As the population of Mars grows, so do the calls for starting families. But are these domes really a safe, nurturing environment for youngsters? Should there first be more amenities, more parks, schools, playgrounds? How would you raise a child in this place? The debate continues, but at least the questions are being asked.

Image

This new dome will be physically connected to New Edinburgh by a motorized walkway. Residents of the domes will be freely able to move between them -- even, if they choose, to live in one dome and work (or drink) in the other.

Planners envision, in the long run, a string of connected domes from Abundance to New Edinburgh.

Image

Early 2054: Dusty skies once again become a part of daily life.

Image

Abundance's solar panel continues to function, though! Outdoor panels have to stay closed to prevent dust getting in their mechanisms.

Image

Time stops for no one, and some of the colonists are starting to grow old, as these gray-haired O2 patrons demonstrate. These folks were in late middle age when they arrived, and are now Officially Elderly and out of the workforce. While there's more where they came from on Earth, the aging of the population is one more argument in favor of children on Mars.

Image

Exploration continues during dust storms, and Dewey the research rover finds another anomaly on Hecates Tholus -- the investigation of which sparks fresh ideas in the minds of the science team. A new breakthrough tech is available for research: Zero-Space Computing. Theoretical now, if actualized it could revolutionize computing everywhere.
TechTomorrow Blog, 2055 wrote:Once again, Martian scientists have turned their thoughts toward the small -- and what they find could change the future.

Conventional computers have a hard limit on their processing speed, one which no clever advance in materials or superconducting can break: the speed of light. While it takes an incredibly brief time for a signal to pass between one part of a microprocessor to another, even these short travel times can add up when millions of calculations are performed every second.

The next level, according to Dr. Myra Balakrishna of Mars' Abundance Dome, is "zero-space computing", in which quantum-level architecture would allow information to travel very short distances in, literally, zero time ...

Image

February 2055: Dome #3 is furnished and ready for inhabitants. New Edinburgh's residents have already toured and are excited for new neighbors, who should be arriving on the next rocket.
Image

Mechanical Ape
User avatar
Posts: 454
Joined: Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:23 pm
Gender: Male

Re: The Pale Red Dot: A Surviving Mars LP

Post by Mechanical Ape (?) » Mon May 04, 2020 10:57 pm

Image

Upon landing, the new arrivals split up, some settling in New Edinburgh and others moving to the new dome, Bodewell. The domes are connected so it doesn't matter which one they live in.

Along the way they pass the Polymer Factory where many will be working. This big facility -- it needs to be outdoors because of size and pollution -- takes water from a pipeline and fuel from drone deliveries. Then the engineers, as if spinning straw into gold, process H2O + CH4 into a nearly endless array of plastic and polymer molecules. It's one more step toward self-sufficiency -- that wonderful day when all necessary materials are produced on-planet.

Image

After a shift at the plastic works, you may just want to crash on the couch. Bodewell's residences are similar to New Edinburgh but in a white color scheme. There are three housing blocks in Bodewell, more than the other domes, providing homes for up to 42 colonists. Plenty of vacancies! Reserve now!

Image

Bodewell has its own Circle diner and, like the other domes, hydroponic farming. This tower uses an alternate design where operators work on the ground floor.

Image

Travel between Bodewell and New Edinburgh is easy and luxurious with this clear-plastic connector tunnel and its moving walkways. Now this is the future. (These people aren't open to the atmosphere; the plastic is too transparent to see in this shot.) Most of the commuters are Bodewell residents visiting NE's superior recreation facilities, such as the bar, though it's usually full when they get there. There is a strict occupant capacity at O2, and residents of both domes are clamoring for a second bar. Or maybe even a bigger bar. Or both, both is good.

As for the Abundance staff, they're not drinkers. They don't miss it that much, to be honest.

Image

I like to put parks near the connector exits. Makes it look like these fellows are waiting for dates.

Image

June 2055: Meanwhile, back on Earth. Bodewell has room for more colonists, but there's something else to do first.

MHII carves into its budget to send more supplies, including a new drone hub, two moisture vaporators, and an extremely costly shipment of electronics. What are these electronics for? Only MHII's most ambitious project yet: a communications satellite to provide ultraclear, ultrahigh volume data transmission between Earth and the Red Planet. This project, called HI-RES (Habitability Initiative Receiving-Encoding Satellite), requires a massive investment of materials, and Mars can't produce the needed electronics on its own. But MHII is confident they can cover the expense. There may come a day when they can't, with more and more countries dropping out, so it's better to achieve it now and reap the benefits.

This is only the first of two such shipments. This is a big project.

Image

October 2055: A stress-related incident caused by colonist [NAME WITHHELD FOR CONFIDENTIALITY] prompts a discussion of housing architecture.

Some problems you only discover in the field. It turns out, years into the project, that some colonists are having trouble with communal living and a paucity of private spaces. Representatives of the colony confer with Mission Control and a solution is implemented: a redesign of home interiors to provide more living space per person. Necessarily, this means less capacity overall.

Image

There's no graphical change when you implement this, but the effect is that housing becomes more comfortable at the expense of accommodating fewer people. Our residential blocks now house 12 people instead of 14, and provide 60 Comfort instead of 50. This lasts for the rest of the game, so it's the new normal.

It's a small price to ensure everyone gets their personal space.

Image

"We got a One: Personal space. Two: Personal space. Three: Stay outta my personal space. Four: Keep away from my personal space. Five: Get outta that personal space. Six: Stay away from my personal space ..."

Image

January 2056: An eventful month. Shangyang returns to Earth with the biggest niobium shipment yet, pulling in $864 million and keeping MHII afloat a while longer.

Dome #4 begins construction, drones laboring side by side with the now-familiar nanoassembler clouds. This dome will be paired with Abundance and is poised to serve as the colony's breadbasket: much of the agricultural work will be concentrated here, including a few experimental procedures, so that every dome won't need its own hydroponics.

Most exciting of all, scientists on Earth perfect a new, fuel-efficient rocket engine.

Image

Advanced Martian Engines is a conventional tech, not a breakthrough, but it makes a big impact. Once it's researched, rockets need only 30 fuel instead of 50! This not only means your rockets spend less time sitting on the pad, it also means you can save more fuel for other purposes: polymer manufacture, and a few other uses we'll discover later. Our HI-RES satellite project will need 100 fuel among other things, so the sooner we start stockpiling, the better.

Your rockets gain the upgrade immediately, whether they're on Mars or on Earth or in the middle of space. They don't change visually. However, for fluff purposes I'll say that the next time Shangyang and Bonaventure are on Earth, that's when they get retired, sent to an aerospace museum somewhere, and replaced by new rockets with new names and the brand-new engines. Please play along. This is how I get my jollies.
Image

Mechanical Ape
User avatar
Posts: 454
Joined: Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:23 pm
Gender: Male

Re: The Pale Red Dot: A Surviving Mars LP

Post by Mechanical Ape (?) » Fri May 08, 2020 10:18 pm

Oh I forgot to mention, Dewey found another breakthrough.

Image

This continues the theme of miniaturization that seems to follow this play's breakthroughs. I guess the future of the Pale Red Dot-verse is a tiny one. :ohboy:

What does this one give us? Well, later in the game we can research Drone Assemblers, factories that build drones so we don't have to import them. And this breakthrough, Printed Electronics, allows drones to be made from cheap-as-dirt metals instead of expensive electronics. That's cool, but useless until we have Drone Assemblers, so this one goes on the back burner for now.

Image

Late 2056: Space rocket Shangyang is decommissioned with some parts going into its replacement, Paravani, the first of MHII's second-generation craft. The exterior looks the same but the interior is totally redesigned. These new rockets have efficient engines that burn less fuel, although the engine itself is larger so there's no net gain in cargo space. Paravani's first voyage is to ship another batch of newcomers to the Bodewell-New Edinburgh dome complex.

Image

Construction in Dome #4 progresses as Abundance's residents continue to age, some retiring from active duty altogether. The founders have been here nearly 14 years, after all; it's been a while. This dome could definitely do with some young blood.

Image

Fortunately, Bodewell is just near enough that the distance is crossable in space suits. So it's now possible to marswalk between Abundance and New Edinburgh with Bodewell as an intermediary. Colonists won't do this in their daily routine, but they will to relocate from one dome to another.

Bodewell has more housing than the other domes, so it comes to pass that retirees often resettle there (read: are resettled there by me) as their old jobs are filled by working-age colonists. As a result Bodewell begins to earn a reputation as "the old folks' dome".

Image

2057: The growing Bodewell-New Edinburgh community, many of whom are retirees looking to fill their day, prompt an increased demand for services. In response, Bodewell unveils its brand-new Open Air Gym. Please hold your gasps; air supplies are limited.

Image

A gym is a great investment if you've got the space. It consumes no power, requires no staff, and is open 25/7. Any time of the day or night, you can come by and talk fitness with your fellow Mars goons. Gyms satisfy the Socializing need, so extroverts have another place to hang without taking up space in the bar or diner. I know you love to chat, Sheila, but some of us are trying to drink here!

And then of course there's the exercise. It's good for you and, in particular, Officers and anyone with the "Fit" trait have the occasional urge to get their sweat on. The gym features a jogging track (never used), pull-up bars, and a place where you can stand off to the side and stretch.

Or, how about some low-G basketball?

Image

Welcome to the real space jam.

Image

September 2057: Bonaventure's replacement, Phoenix, makes for Mars with the last of the electronics for the HI-RES communication satellite. This nearly empties MHII's coffers, but the colony is exporting niobium at a decent rate and there will soon be slack in the budget once again.

The following month brings a somber milestone for the colony.

Image

October 14, 2057: New Edinburgh resident Clint Simpson suffers heart failure, becoming the first human to die on Mars. It is conceivable that Mars' low-gravity environment, or some other factor of Martian living, contributed to his passing, but medics are unable to find evidence of this and his death is ruled as natural cause.

Image

Dr. Keya Gupta, in need of empathy training, describes Mr. Simpson's condition as "yep, definitely dead".

Clint's death was sudden and he had left no wishes for the disposition of his body; his family arranged to have it returned to Earth on the next rocket. The topic became one of importance for the remaining seventy-one colonists, with a poll returning the following results:
After your death, how would you prefer your remains handled?

Cremation: 19 (26.8%)
Burial on Mars: 16 (22.5%)
Returned to Earth: 12 (16.9%)
Recycled for agriculture: 11 (15.5%)
Don't know/Don't care: 8 (11.3%)
Donated to medical science: 4 (5.6%)
Ejected into space: 1 (1.4%)
This, of course, represents the opinions of first-generation Earthborn colonists. Polls in later years would increasingly trend toward recycling.
Marla Wolf, Botanist wrote:Absolutely no question, stick me in the composter; we need all the nitrogen we can spare.
For more about what to do with your dead folks on Mars, see this article and this other article.

Image

2058: Three domes, all with hydroponic farms to support, require oodles of water, and much of that moisture is supplied by vaporators. When the latest dust storm is detected, the colony upgrades the oomph of its water extractor to ensure the H2O continues flowing while the vaporators are shut down.

By this point our deposit of underground ice is about half exhausted. We'll conserve it by relying on vaporators as much as possible; but it wouldn't hurt, when we've got the time, to find a second source to exploit. There's a deposit to the west of the colony that we could probably reach without extending ourselves too far. It's something to remember for later.

Image

During the pre-storm, Phoenix lands and begins to be fitted for its special mission, the assembly of the HI-RES communication satellite. Low-grade transmissions will be a thing of the past once this baby is operational, and the colony will be able to share research data with Mission Control at a far greater volume.

It's been a huge $$$ expense, but I was going to do this at some point; might as well be the early game. Extra 400 research per Sol is a big deal at this stage.

Image

Phoenix isn't going anywhere until it's fully loaded for HI-RES. At the rate we produce fuel, that won't happen before the dust storm has come and gone.

Image

2059: Dewey's explorations uncover another breakthrough.

Hive Mind improves life in Arcologies, a housing type we haven't even discovered yet, so there's no point in researching it now. We'll revisit this when the time comes. In any case, I think we can agree that the science staff is getting some wild ideas. Someone should double-check the oxygen feed.

Image

June 2059: MHII wasn't planning to make this move, but for the first time more than 50% of the colonists demand it, so it is done: there will be children on Mars. Or at least the possibility of children. You still have to make them yourself, obviously. The colonists believe their home is sufficient for the raising of families, and many are anxious to do so. The "use protection" policy is subsequently lifted in all domes.

At least it'll give folks something to do during the dust storm.
Isaac Kleiner, MHII Science Department wrote:For those so inclined, now would be an excellent time for procreation.
Image

Mechanical Ape
User avatar
Posts: 454
Joined: Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:23 pm
Gender: Male

Re: The Pale Red Dot: A Surviving Mars LP

Post by Mechanical Ape (?) » Tue May 26, 2020 10:04 pm

Time passes. It's a typical evening in Bodewell Dome: many are asleep, others partying in New Edinburgh, still others training at the gym for the upcoming inter-dome Martian basketball tournament (go Dust Devils).

Image

And -- hold on. What's that there.

Zoom in. Enhance.

Image

Yes, with the Mars Habitability International Initiative's Project Laika (and DLC of the same name), critters are now a reality on the Red Planet. Expect to spot animals wandering around the dome from here on out: there are plenty that can appear, from puppers and kittehs to more exotic fauna like :ponydrugs: and penguins. They spawn out of thin air so, sadly, we never get to see a llama in a space suit step off the rocket.

Good ol' Tank here will outlive everyone in this LP.
Image

Mechanical Ape
User avatar
Posts: 454
Joined: Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:23 pm
Gender: Male

Re: The Pale Red Dot: A Surviving Mars LP

Post by Mechanical Ape (?) » Mon Jun 01, 2020 10:28 pm

A wise knight once said, "Mars ain't the kind of place to raise your kids. In fact it's cold as hell. And there's no one there to raise them if you did." Here at the Mars Habitability International Initiative, we're working as hard as possible to prove him wrong.
-- Mahira Marquez, MHII Chief Administrator


Image

So in game terms, how is babby formed? Surviving Mars handles it abstractly. Within each dome, the game looks at the comfort level and the number of residents who want kids. There exists a minimum comfort level for births to happen (the presence of medical facilities lowers this threshold), and the more your colonists' comfort exceeds this level, the higher the birth rate. Late in the game, when technological advances boost dome comfort through the roof, your colony will be crawling with youngsters if you're not careful.

Humans born on Mars have the "Martianborn" trait. This has little impact at first, but as we move down the tech scale we will unlock special bonuses for Martianborn citizens, who are psychologically and physiologically accustomed to living here.

Image

The first native Martian, a girl, is born in Bodewell on March 28, 2060, and the name given to her is Belka Kepler. She would be followed in the coming months by others, born into this new world with names like Luna and Oberon and Prefecta.

While Earthborn colonists have names reflective of their nationality, for Martianborn the game pulls from a pool of space and sci-fi themed names. (They don't take their parents' names; the game doesn't track family or parentage at all.) Some of these names are eye-rollingly silly. Collectively, though, I would invite you to read their oddness as illustrative of a distinct "Martian culture" coming into being; an original style of human living disconnected from centuries of obsolete Earth traditions. Keep that theme in mind. It'll be important later.

Image

When she looks out to the Martian landscape, what does she see? Does she see the same hostile, dusty, frozen wasteland that you or I recognize? Or for Belka, is this simply ... home?
Image

Mechanical Ape
User avatar
Posts: 454
Joined: Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:23 pm
Gender: Male

Re: The Pale Red Dot: A Surviving Mars LP

Post by Mechanical Ape (?) » Thu Jun 11, 2020 12:36 pm

Time passes.
Image

Mechanical Ape
User avatar
Posts: 454
Joined: Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:23 pm
Gender: Male

Re: The Pale Red Dot: A Surviving Mars LP

Post by Mechanical Ape (?) » Fri Jun 12, 2020 5:36 pm

It's some years later, and the colony on Hecates Tholus is now home to 84 human beings, five of whom were born here on Mars. More will arrive over the course of this update. On Earth, technologies pioneered on Mars are becoming attainable for governments, the wealthy and the powerful. Nanomachines and zero-space computing are the cornerstones of the scientific "Small Revolution" as the universe is explored and conquered at a microscopic scale.

Image

In between bracing for regular disasters, the colony has managed to construct a fourth active dome. Carver, named for the early 20th-century agricultural scientist, stands alongside Abundance, Bodewell and New Edinburgh as both workplace and home. Let's take a closer look!

Image

Carver was envisioned as an agricultural and scientific hub, and it contains state-of-the-art facilities seen nowhere else in the colony. Most striking to our eyes is the Water Reclamation Tower, an example of "spire buildings" that are placed in a dome's central space.

Image

The purpose of a reclamation tower is to improve a dome's water efficiency. Domes that have one use proportionally less water, so it makes sense to centralize your water-using buildings there. For Carver, the goal is to move our farming initiatives here where they'll be thriftier. We need to conserve because we're reaching the limit of our water supply; to expand further we'll need to build more vaporators or tap into a second ice deposit.

Image

An overhead view provides a glimpse at the system's operation. Waste water is pumped to the top through the central spire; from there it drains through a series of seven basins, filtering each drop as it goes. By the time it empties to ground level you can drink it. But don't spit. That's unseemly.

Image

The problem of farming on Mars was solved in the 2050s, when scientists found a way to chemically treat Martian regolith to make it capable -- marginally capable -- of supporting plants. Grow enough vegetation on it, and natural biological processes eventually convert it to regular soil. Voilà, you've got yourself a farm, which is far more productive than a hydroponics tower provided you can wait a bit longer for harvests. Here we see Carver's biologists monitoring the latest soybean crop; a central sprinkler keeps it watered 25/7.

A farm's soil quality starts at 50% and you can plant three crops in it: wheat, soybeans and potatoes. Potatoes provide the best yield but reduce soil quality; soybeans improve soil quality but the harvest is only so-so. Wheat has a good yield and no effect on soil quality. Generally the strategy is to focus on soybeans until you get soil to 100%; you can then transition to a soybean-wheat-potato crop rotation. Later techs will put more kinds of crops on offer.

Image

Research is done at the science facility, which is the same as Abundance's lab but with a different skin.

Image

Carver's playground is just for the kiddies. Each colorful slide, bench and plastic doodad was designed by psychologists to cultivate positive traits in users. That's literally the game effect -- children who use a playground have a better chance of developing beneficial quirks when they mature. Don't ask how it works, it just does.

Image

The playground in action. Yutani here stands in the center of the structure, which is an air shaft that sucks her all the way up to the top with a 93% exhilaration factor. She then rides a slide to the bottom and repeats the process. This makes her a better citizen.

It's science. :twience:

Image

Other innovations are less exciting but no less practical. For example, the colony's six oxygen tanks have been replaced with two plus-sized tanks, expanding storage from 600 to 2000 without increasing maintenance. It's gonna take a while for our MOXIEs to produce enough air to fill them.

(I don't know why the tanks all sport :thehorror: faces. They just do.)

Image

So on the whole, life on Mars is going all right. Aside from the regular dust storms and cold waves and meteor showers, things are fairly stable.

Of course, when there's no crises, you can always count on people to create some. But the colony works through it and moves on.

Image

Belka Kepler, the first child on Mars, is now a young adult and has taken her place in the colony workforce, overseeing the Bodewell grocery. Belka has the traits "Coward" and "Glutton". She did not grow up with a playground. Let this be a lesson to you.

At this time there is no formal education on Mars. The half-dozen or so kids are tutored informally by adults in a system known as domeschooling. This seems to work fine for now, but some colonists are beginning to lobby for a dedicated school building. And that's to say nothing of higher education! At present, all specialist positions must be filled by qualified candidates shipped from Earth; but shouldn't Mars be able to train its own specialists? At some point shouldn't there be, for lack of a better term, a Martian University? It's something to consider.
Image

Mechanical Ape
User avatar
Posts: 454
Joined: Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:23 pm
Gender: Male

Re: The Pale Red Dot: A Surviving Mars LP

Post by Mechanical Ape (?) » Sun Aug 02, 2020 2:08 pm

Time passes ...

... and the future continues to sweep across the Pale Red Dot.

Image

Our colony on Hecates Tholus looks a bit different these days! Let's check in with our peeps.

Image

Abundance, the oldest dome, was the first to receive a facelift. Advances in Martian architecture and nanoconstruction enabled a solid-polymer bubble design without need for metal struts. Instead of a multitude of panels on a framework, which are prone to microleaks, the new domes are one continuous piece of plastic with no weak points. Now there's even less separating you from the great frigid outdoors!

(NOTE: the preceding is 100% fluff, there are no techs involved, all I did was change skins with the click of a mouse)

Both the exterior and interior have been redesigned to reflect Abundance's new role as a mining center. It's finally being used for its original purpose.

Image

Eventually the colony's metal needs outpaced what Huey the rover could scoop from surface deposits. The solution? Strike the earth! Abundance's mine is built atop a rich iron-titanium deposit. It's dirty work for the geologists, who have to ride an elevator down the shaft and do the job with their mining laser, or pickaxe, or whatever it is they use. In any event, the colony is once again metal-positive.

Image

Another Abundance outbuilding is the colony's Fungal Farm, made possible by Dr. Darsh Ahuja's research from several updates ago. Mushrooms, yeast and other edible fungi are cultivated in this greenhouse, which has to be its own detached building due to the space requirements and, frankly, the smell.

Image

Within, botanists monitor the growth of the mushrooms, which will soon be ready to add a little umami to the Martian diet. Unlike regular and hydroponic farms, which take several Sols to grow a crop, fungal farms provide harvests every day. They're reliable producers of food that don't take up valuable real estate in a dome.

Of course, all outdoor buildings are stressful to work in. After a day of toil, our miners and mushroom farmers need someplace to wash their cares away. And I'm not talking about a shower. Well, I'm not just talking about a shower.

Image

Built on the site of Abundance's former science lab Clink! is Mars' largest bar. Here at Clink!, the residents of Abundance-Carver can enjoy adult beverages in a socially responsible fashion. The design makes clever use of the low-gravity environment: your hemispherical chairs elevate to the drinking area on the second floor. The number of accidents has so far been acceptable.

Image

You don't want to get fall-off-your-stool drunk when your stool is 20 feet off the ground.

Image

As more Abundance staff work outdoors, fewer work indoors. A recent breakthrough, Factory Automation, allows us to upgrade a factory to need fewer job slots. Now our Machine Parts Factory has two humans performing the work of six! Robots and simple AIs do the rest.

And don't worry about the other four engineers being out of a job. They've relocated to Bodewell-New Edinburgh to help in the polymer factory, which remains labor-intensive work even with the automation upgrade.

Image

These days all the colony scientists work in Carver, where the scientific lab (it's hidden behind the water treatment spire) is fully modernized to the late 21st century with zero-space computing power. The researchers work cooperatively with Habitability Institute teams back on Earth. Communication is easier than ever now that satellite HI-RES is operational, Phoenix having returned from its mission to assemble it.

Image

HI-RES allows nearly lossless data transmission between Earth and Mars. Apart from the 15-minute delay, it's as if you're talking to your next door neighbor. Nearly every Martian youngster has an enormous online following.

Mars enters an era of rapid progress unimaginable a few decades ago. Early-game techs are unlocked at blinding speed. Which prompts the question: what comes next?

Plans are in motion to build Mars' largest dome yet, putting new social and architectural breakthroughs into practice. This will be a residential dome connecting Carver with Bodewell, uniting all the colony in a chain of habitats. This new dome will contain entertainment and educational facilities. It will be the cultural center of the colony. It will be, in a sense, Mars' first true city.

To make this happen, we first need to expand our water supplies. As all the local sources are already being tapped, we'll need to expand our drone network to secure new ice deposits west of the colony. That water will be pumped into storage tanks to quench our thirsty crops and colonists.

So to sum up: step 1, water; step 2, new dome. And after that? Well, I think we're all getting tired of ice and endless red dust. It's time to talk about greening up the place.
Image

Fizzbuzz
User avatar
Stare Masters
Posts: 1001
Joined: Sat Oct 28, 2017 10:54 pm
Gender: Male
Location: TN
Contact:

Re: The Pale Red Dot: A Surviving Mars LP

Post by Fizzbuzz (?) » Sun Aug 02, 2020 11:29 pm

Your comment on the low Martian gravity made me wonder if there's any significant difference in the work that people born on Mars can do vs. that of those who moved from Earth. I doubt it'd be much, since I expect any increased strength due to being from Earth would eventually wear off after years and years of living on Mars, but the game does take care to point out those born on Mars, so I guess it matters eventually.
Image

Mechanical Ape
User avatar
Posts: 454
Joined: Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:23 pm
Gender: Male

Re: The Pale Red Dot: A Surviving Mars LP

Post by Mechanical Ape (?) » Mon Aug 10, 2020 11:03 am

Fizzbuzz wrote:
Sun Aug 02, 2020 11:29 pm
Your comment on the low Martian gravity made me wonder if there's any significant difference in the work that people born on Mars can do vs. that of those who moved from Earth. I doubt it'd be much, since I expect any increased strength due to being from Earth would eventually wear off after years and years of living on Mars, but the game does take care to point out those born on Mars, so I guess it matters eventually.
In the game, the low gravity is sometimes alluded to, sometimes not. From screenshots you may have noticed that colonists bounce and leap around in their spacesuits, but walk normally inside the domes (except when they're doing sick dunks on the basketball court). I've seen it theorized that maybe they wear extra-weighted clothing, but the game never provides a reason.

Gravity would be the main physiological factor separating Earthborn from Martianborn, since nearly every other environmental difference can be terraformed away (in the game, at least).

As for real life ... I've done some light research, and not surprisingly, everything on the topic of low-G human development is purely speculative. We don't even know if pregnancy would work normally, let alone fetal growth; for this reason some say it would be unethical even to try to have kids in space before animal testing. We do know something about the effects of low-G on Earthborn humans, though. Muscle atrophy, bone density loss, and blood pressure changes are all things that new arrivals on Mars will notice, just as the staff of the International Space Station do. You also gain an inch or two because your spine is less compressed.

But the ISS staff know they're returning to Earth's environment when their stint is done. Martian colonists, by contrast, are expected to remain indefinitely. So if a colonist loses muscle mass is it really a problem, if they're spending the rest of their life on Mars anyway? Ya got me.

As for children developed and born in Martian gravity, we're in pure speculation mode. The general feeling is they'd be born with smaller muscles and thinner bones to start with; they wouldn't experience atrophy because they'd developed that way. They'd grow up a little taller and more slender than Earth humans -- not freakishly so, they've still got their Earth parents' genes -- although after a bunch of generations who knows what the norm would be. The Martianborn would have serious problems in Earth's gravity and probably would not live long or comfortably. The game does model this: while Earthborn colonists can say "screw this" and return to Earth if they're unhappy enough, the Martianborn don't have that option.

I think any long-term Martian habitat would eventually come up with its own designs for furniture, keyboards, vehicles, etc. because low-G ergonomics would be different.
Image

Mechanical Ape
User avatar
Posts: 454
Joined: Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:23 pm
Gender: Male

Re: The Pale Red Dot: A Surviving Mars LP

Post by Mechanical Ape (?) » Mon Aug 17, 2020 3:56 pm

In order to crest the water hump, so to speak, the colony needs to stretch out to these underground ice deposits to the west.

Image

Tapping these sources means running a bunch of pipe/cable and sticking a drone hub at the end to service the ice extractors. We'll put a nice big water tank there, too. This construction will strain the colony's metal reserve (the other resource aside from water that's running in the yellow), but it's got to be done to grow the colony to a point of self-sufficiency.

Image

Huey the transport rover will be busier than ever, gathering metal, concrete and machine parts and unloading them at the construction site, where the buildings will build themselves through the magic science magic of nanobots.

There's going to be a stretch of pipe/cable that's outside the coverage of any drone hub, which can be troublesome if a leak happens there, but I've got a plan to address that. Good thing too; there's another dust storm on the way.

Image

For now, here's a picture of a goat.

Image

Dewey the exploration rover is also working full time; a meteor shower led us toward some promising anomalies.

Earth finally gets some closure on the fate of Beagle 2, a pre-MHII probe whose failure, the last in a series of catastrophic missions in the 2020s, very nearly killed investment in Mars for a generation. Luckily, interest was renewed in the 2030s with a bold multinational effort, and MHII was born.

Image

When Phoenix lands, it brings a third member to the colony's family of rovers. This is a Remote Controlled Drone Commander Vehicle, nicknamed Della. Della essentially functions as a mobile drone hub and carrier; she can command up to 8 drones and before moving, her "ducklings" board her cargo bay for transport. (They're colored white instead of blue to distinguish them.)

With Della, we can bring drones to any place on the map -- ideal for jobs outside our range of hubs. While our nanobots can construct buildings anywhere on the map, they cannot repair; if a pipe bursts or a windmill gets dirty it needs a drone to do the maintenance.

Image

And just in time, too! Before long the latest dust storm has arrived. With it comes the usual cascade of pipe leaks and cable faults, one of which is happening on the stretch of pipeline not covered by our drone hubs.

Patching it is a job for Della and her ducklings! Mission Control pats itself on the back for excellent planning.

Image

The best-laid plans of mice and men. :-/

Della, last seen parked in the center of the colony, has somehow gotten lost in the dust storm. She's not responding to remote control commands. The very rover we needed most has gone missing! We can't afford to wait for the storm to die down; there's a leaky pipe that needs fixing pronto.

There's a ray of hope: our sensor network. Since we have so many sensor towers, we have the option to use them to triangulate Della's position. That'll take time, but if it works, it should allow us to locate her without waiting for the storm to lift.

Image

The colony waits anxiously. The new water buildings weren't finished in time for the storm, and reserves were low enough to start with. Now, what little water remains is spraying out uselessly into the atmosphere. Dehydration and mental stress haunt the colonists.

Where on Mars is Della??!?

Image

Finally, we get a ping. Della is non-responsive, but we've located her position not far from the colony.

Image

How the hell did you get over there, Della?!

Irrelevant -- we'd better send a drone to fix her. Ironically, tasks like these are exactly what rovers like Della were built for. We'll just have to commandeer a drone and micromanage it.

Image

Drones by nature will never venture outside their hub radius, except when repatriating from one hub to another. However, you can manually order a drone to a task outside its zone, and that's what we do here. One of the colony drones is commanded to take a break from servicing the domes and go see about Della.

(NOTE: In answer to the obvious question: yes. I could have manually sent a drone to patch the leak this whole time. But in some ways I kind of suck at this game, and had forgotten it was an option until now, when desperation forced me to remember. So keep in mind that pretty much all the problems that follow this water shortage are my dumb fault and no one else's. Naturally I'm going to blame MHII. Roleplayer's privilege!)

Della gets a full detailing and is soon operational again. The drone, its task complete, buzzes back to its comfort zone to resume normal duties.

Image

Well, at least the science team got a hefty research bonus from this whole headache.

Image

Della and her ducklings are able to patch the leak, but one problem leads to another. All these repairs have brought on a critical shortage of metals, and the storm isn't nearly over yet.

To get through, it's all hands on deck at the mines. Metal extraction is given Priority 1 status and even non-geologists are tapped to fill the shifts.

You can imagine the stress on the colonists. Dehydrated and dirty, taking leave of your duties as a medic or bartender to put on a space suit and go out in the middle of a dust storm to work a mine you're not trained for, all so that the colony stays running and everyone doesn't die of thirst and asphyxiation. It's not pleasant!

That's why I didn't also open a third (nighttime) shift or set shifts to Heavy Workload, both of which were options. This situation was taxing enough on the colonists' sanity, and 10.1 metal per Sol was sufficient to get us through the crisis.

Image

In the end, the dust storm passed, but in its wake were left broken buildings and a few broken minds.

Several colonists suffered stress-related breakdowns and were referred to therapy. Courtney Cassidy was just one of many such victims. Colonists who have a mental breakdown (a result of low Sanity) stop working until they rest enough to recover. The experience can also create negative psych traits such as alcoholism.

The colony got through its worst disaster to date, but not without hardship, widespread thirst and the scars of long-term stress. Many colonists blamed Mission Control for poor management; the colony, they argued, had been left ill-equipped to deal with emergencies. Material reserves had been insufficient, and basic safety protocols had not been followed.

You couldn't quite call it an independence movement, but here began a growing conviction that MHII, an underfunded Earth organization millions of miles away, could no longer adequately manage the hundred-plus residents of the Hecates Tholus colony.

Image

Anyway, here's a picture of a deer.
Image

Mechanical Ape
User avatar
Posts: 454
Joined: Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:23 pm
Gender: Male

Re: The Pale Red Dot: A Surviving Mars LP

Post by Mechanical Ape (?) » Sun Aug 23, 2020 3:16 pm

And it's around this time that extraterrestrial life is discovered.

Image

Fossilzed and ancient, but life.

And I like the way this event implies that such a find, as historic as it would be on philosophical, psychological and religious fronts, would not change much in a material sense. As players in a city builder, the scope offered to us by the game is largely a practical one -- we interact with it using the levers of cash, energy, metals. That's our POV. So into this paradigm drops an event which shakes the foundation of human knowledge. It would alter our way of thinking about the cosmos forever. Folded into this event is the answer to a long debate that has filled entire libraries, and now that it is found, the answer will fill so many more.

But that's all in the margins. From a practical standpoint -- in game terms -- the player asks "What does this get me?" And the answer is: not necessarily all that much.

Don't get me wrong, $500M or 50 new applicants is a nice treat. We go with the applicants because we're building a new dome soon, and we'll need all the skilled immigrants we can get. Again, a very practical decision.

But in our timeline, fossilized native microbes have been discovered on Mars. I didn't want to let that pass without comment.
Image

Mechanical Ape
User avatar
Posts: 454
Joined: Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:23 pm
Gender: Male

Re: The Pale Red Dot: A Surviving Mars LP

Post by Mechanical Ape (?) » Mon Aug 31, 2020 6:38 pm

Image

"And that's the story of how MHII nearly killed us all," finishes Chen Ping. "Now here's how you do a knee bend."

To be honest, Atlas is more interested in the tortoises.

Image

In response to the Dust Storm Dust-Up, which saw water reserves depleted and the colony come near to dehydration, some colonists were radicalized, with two becoming Renegades. Every colonist has a Morale rating which measures their general happiness; if it bottoms out, they have a chance to become Renegades, malcontents and petty criminals who have basically checked out of the system. This is irreversible as far as I can tell. Renegades still show up to their jobs, but with a huge productivity penalty, and resources will occasionally "go missing". A security station in the dome will prevent such thefts.

Two rogue colonists out of 100+ won't affect the colony much, but it's a reminder of how bad things got during the last disaster, and a lesson to not repeat the same errors.

Image

More commonly, colonists merely become stressed out and unable to work for a while.

These cases recovered eventually, but productivity took a temporary hit as many workers, particularly those in stressful outdoor jobs, simply found themselves unable to function.

Everyone on Mars needed a vacation, but there was nowhere to go.

Image

What was needed was some good news, and it came in the form of scientific findings.

The Theiikian period lasted from 4.0 to 3.5 billion years ago. During this time, volcanic activity reached its peak, releasing huge amounts of sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere and shaping the surface with lava flows. Volcanoes such as Olympus Mons formed during this period. The Theiikian represents a transitional stage between the relatively warmer and wetter Mars of the early days and the arid, geologically inert world we know today.

The site provided the clearest picture yet of that era, confirming some theories, overturning others and generally offering an open book into Mars' turbulent adolescence.
Dao-ming Lee, Scientist wrote:What is this place filled with so many wonders?
While the discovery offered little of interest to the lay person, the scientific community on Earth was electrified by the jackpot of new data. Mars once again grabbed the headlines, for a while, and the Red Planet shrewdly maneuvered itself into acquiring four new water vaporators. It couldn't have come at a better time.

Image

Before long the vaporators and water extractors were online, bringing an end to water insecurity -- in fact, the colony was nearly swimming in fresh H2O.

Image

Della and her ducklings were dispatched to an anomaly near the south pole, which turned out to be a deposit of useful metals ... exactly what the colony needed at the moment.

With water and metal supplies replenished, the green light was given to new construction.

Image

Unity Village would be the largest dome yet, what the game classifies as a Medium Dome (everything so far has been Small Domes). There are larger structures than this but we haven't researched them yet. With its larger footprint, a medium dome provides 12 "wedges" of building space compared to the 6 offered by small domes. Unity Village will hold some never-before-seen buildings and just generally be a nice place to raise your kids.

Image

It's also around this time that the decades-long project of surveying Hecates Tholus comes to an end. All sectors have been scanned and we can see the locations of deposits, anomalies and other locations of interest. Plenty of locales could make ideal sites for new dome clusters, but such expansion will have to wait for a later date. It would be costly and inefficient to carry supplies from one end of the map to the other; the two settlements would be essentially isolated from each other.

What's needed to bridge the distance is some kind of long-range transport system. Some engineers have envisioned a fleet of ultralight aircraft carrying passengers and cargo; it's one of the many avenues of research being pursued.

Geologists insist that there are more deposits and anomalies to be found on Hecates Tholus, deeper underground than current scanners can reach.

Image

Meanwhile on Earth, Eugene Yee, visionary CEO of SpaceY Corporation, declares that MHII has done a poor job of taming Mars and that private enterprise is the key to conquering space. He announces that SpaceY is planning a Mars colony of its own, one designed and maintained entirely by nanomachines, leaving its human residents to lives of uninterrupted leisure and intellectual fulfillment. Three years later, SpaceY files for bankruptcy.
Image

Fizzbuzz
User avatar
Stare Masters
Posts: 1001
Joined: Sat Oct 28, 2017 10:54 pm
Gender: Male
Location: TN
Contact:

Re: The Pale Red Dot: A Surviving Mars LP

Post by Fizzbuzz (?) » Mon Aug 31, 2020 8:50 pm

That last event seems awfully expensive, since I'd think losing ten of your colonists (temporarily, I assume) would result in some terribly lower productivity for you. On the other hand, maybe it's a useful means of disposing of renegades, by turning them into chaos agents to deploy against your rivals.
Image

Mechanical Ape
User avatar
Posts: 454
Joined: Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:23 pm
Gender: Male

Re: The Pale Red Dot: A Surviving Mars LP

Post by Mechanical Ape (?) » Mon Aug 31, 2020 9:57 pm

It would be inconvenient right now, since the colony is (at this moment) running short on specialists, and losing even ten would be a setback. Unity Village, when it is completed, will have a university that'll train regular colonists into specialists -- one less thing to rely on Earth to provide. Till then it's touch and go. Around this point in the game there's a productivity dip that occurs because your old Earthborn specialists are retiring (and it's hard to import new ones fast enough) and your new generation of Martianborn are nonspecialists. Once you get a university it eventually straightens out.

Also, from a RP standpoint I just didn't want any rival colonies mucking up the narrative. This is a pretty neat event, though, one which I've never seen before, so in a future game I'll give it a try.

Generally in situations where X colonists are required for something, you don't get to choose whom. Otherwise, yeah, that'd be a pretty neat way to dump renegades and poor performers. Ah well.

If you're playing with rival colonies you can send Officers to do covert ops like stealing drones and materials.
Image

Mechanical Ape
User avatar
Posts: 454
Joined: Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:23 pm
Gender: Male

Re: The Pale Red Dot: A Surviving Mars LP

Post by Mechanical Ape (?) » Wed Sep 02, 2020 11:41 am

TIL that Beagle 2 and Great Galactic Ghoul hypothesis are both real things.
Image

Mechanical Ape
User avatar
Posts: 454
Joined: Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:23 pm
Gender: Male

Re: The Pale Red Dot: A Surviving Mars LP

Post by Mechanical Ape (?) » Fri Sep 11, 2020 9:30 pm

SpaceY's failure reminded Earth of the challenge posed by the Red Planet and, more daunting still, the expense required to survive its various dangers. Yet the Mars Habitability International Initiative had managed it a generation ago with 2040s technology, and its colony was still there. Common sense would say: ought it not be easier now?

But MHII had come into being during a brief and exciting window of stability, an optimistic moment when nations had both the cash and the will to expend on risky, forward-thinking cooperative projects. That zeitgeist had gradually, over decades, flattened into new norms of economic isolationism and austerity. The wealth was there; the will was not.

The sad truth is, Mars could only ever have been colonized in the early 2040s. The challenge of the Pale Red Dot was one to have been met by all nations, or by none.

Image

Mysteries beckoned from every corner of the dead planet, a siren call for excursions both automated and human. Priority was given to those likely to yield raw materials -- a lode of rare minerals or a deposit of polymers was as vital as scientific knowledge to the growing colony.

Image
Adah Anand, Geologist wrote:For all its problems, [Hecates Tholus] is very nice to come home to.

Image

Citizens watched with interest as the dome that would become Unity Village assembled itself outside their windows. Unlike on Earth, where the tech had proven economically disruptive, and therefore controversial, nanoconstructors remained a vital part of Martian living. Mars had no job market to protect, no profit goals to achieve; there was only the necessity of survival and the tools which made survival easier.

Unity Village was designed to house 60 colonists, roughly a third of the population at capacity, who would work and study there and in the adjacent domes of Carver and Bodewell. (In Surviving Mars colonists will attend jobs and services in immediately adjoining domes, though they won't commute further than that. A colonist in Unity Village, for instance, won't visit the bar in New Edinburgh two domes away.)

Image

During the construction, new colonists continued to arrive including poet and peace activist Samar Basu, whose decision to move to Mars became something of a news item. Despite his prominence, Basu's path to Martian citizenship was no less rigorous than any other's; he became a certified emergency officer in training, and earned his place on Phoenix. In his Martian years he would write extensively -- though not at the expense of his job duties -- about his experiences and perspective.

(Some colonists will have a rare trait. Samar Basu is a Saint, which means he increases the morale of all Religious colonists sharing his dome. A nice little treat, though not worth configuring your whole colony around it. I suppose in a larger colony you could make a dome just for religious folks and put a Saint there, though if you've got that many domes your colony is probably fine as it is.

Other rare-trait colonists include Celebrities, who generate $$$ just by existing, and Geniuses who do the same for research points.)

Image

Soon afterwards, a departure: Lyndon Garrison, the last surviving Founder, and youngest of the original twelve, passed away. A botanist and hippie, he chose for his remains to be processed into fertilizer, returning himself to the artificial ecosystem which sustained him and the others.

I would say we are in the early 2080s at this point. Pretty soon I'll start giving specific dates again.

Image

The end of an era is only a marker for the beginning of another. Garrison's funeral was followed upon by the virtual-ribbon-cutting of Unity Village, the grand centerpiece linking the halves of the colony. In the next update we'll look at the features of this new residence, and see how its presence brings change and vitality to the other domes.
Image

Mechanical Ape
User avatar
Posts: 454
Joined: Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:23 pm
Gender: Male

Re: The Pale Red Dot: A Surviving Mars LP

Post by Mechanical Ape (?) » Mon Sep 28, 2020 4:22 pm

Image

The Mars colony in its entirety, next Sunday A.D. One hundred fifty-seven humans call it home.

Image

45 of these colonists live in Unity Village with vacancies for more, which will be quickly filled in the coming months as Unity becomes the social center of the colony.

Image

At the physical center of Unity and so, in a sense, the focal point for the entire five-dome colony arc, is the Medical Center. Here are offered full hospital facilities and 24-hour medical care.

Image

Doctors' offices are at the top, and the roof provides a quiet space for therapeutic relaxation.

Many of the colony's medics relocated to Unity to practice here, leaving vacancies at infirmaries in the other domes. New doctors are arriving from Earth, but they're also being trained right here on Mars, thanks to ...

Image

Mars U, the first university on Mars. (Go Drones!) While ivy is not expected to grow on its walls any time soon, this structure is of monumental significance to the colony. It is where untrained adults can go to learn a specialization -- and they do, in droves.

Colonists will attend university if there are any specialist job slots that need filling. They graduate as whichever specialist is most in need at the time. You can also set a university to a single specialty, if you'd rather not wait to start cranking out medics or engineers or whatever.

With a university in place, we no longer need to import specialists from Earth (though we still will) -- the colony is intellectually self-sufficient, you might say.

Image

Lectures are delivered in the open air when feasible, recalling somewhat the Lyceum of ancient Greece. Some of the lectures are pre-recorded by Earth educators, but increasingly Mars is developing its own curriculum specific to its needs.

On Wednesdays, this screen is used to host movie nights.

Image

For Martianborn youngsters, Unity Village also provides the colony's first formal school.

Schools are not strictly necessary in game terms, but children who attend one acquire positive perks that make them happier, more productive adults. This school is geared to cultivate Survivor, Composed and Enthusiast perks, which help them cope with the psychological effect of disasters, which happen on the regular here on Hecates Tholus.

Image

Kids today be looking at their tablets always.

Image

Some of the graduates work here, at the Small Electronics Factory (there's a larger version), the first of its kind in the colony. This facility produces electronics, the most expensive of manufactured goods, from locally mined rare minerals. Here, as with other factories in the colony, staff is a handful of engineers while industrial AI handles the rest of the workload.

At this point you could technically call the colony self-sufficient. There are factories for all three manufactured goods (electronics, polymers and machine parts), children are being born, food is being grown, and there's a university to train specialists. Mars can in theory produce everything it needs -- if we didn't have to deal with disasters and the toll taken by them. In the long run, this small factory's output is barely enough to cover ordinary maintenance needs. We will want to expand our industrial base still further, and continue importing expensive electronics in the meantime. Nonetheless, this is the moment when Mars begins to approach paying for itself.

Image

Even with the addition of Unity Village, space in the domes is always limited. To address this, the colony votes to explore more space-efficient living solutions: i.e. apartments. High-density residential finally comes to Mars.

Like low-density residences, apartments come in various shapes. They house more colonists less comfortably. They've become necessary because there's just so much more to do on Mars nowadays, and there needs to be room for the people who do those jobs. It may be a while before a new dome is built; in the meantime, the goal is to balance labor needs and living space in the domes we have.

Image

Apartment living on Mars is a bit cramped but private, provided your neighbor doesn't play their music too loud. Many of the amenities are shared in common areas in the interior of the building. Some colonists take to this lifestyle; others prefer the more open and communal space of a low-density residence. To be honest most prefer the low-density residences, but there's just not enough space for everyone to have one.

Image

Some of the space is taken up by farms, as the less efficient hydroponic towers are phased out. All these colonists need to be fed, after all.

Agricultural science has advanced on Mars since the early days, and new farms, like the one pictured here, now kick things off by growing cover crops such as peas, alfalfa, clover and radishes. Cover crops produce little food but give an enormous boost to soil quality; one season's worth is all it takes to get soil to 90%, at which point the classic soybean-wheat-potatoes rotation can start directly.

These workers in Bodewell, on the site of the old basketball court, are unskilled, but in time they will be replaced by qualified botanist graduates from the university.
Image

Mechanical Ape
User avatar
Posts: 454
Joined: Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:23 pm
Gender: Male

Re: The Pale Red Dot: A Surviving Mars LP

Post by Mechanical Ape (?) » Wed Sep 30, 2020 12:19 pm

Image

In addition to the farm and the relocation of its gym, Bodewell has added an apartment building (seen in the background) to accommodate the new staff. There's also a bit of open real estate on the right, which might soon house a research lab or possibly a hydroponics tower.

Image

Bodewell Apartments employ a modern (for Mars in the 2080s) terraced design that maximizes sun exposure. No one gets a decent tan on Mars but everyone tries.

Image

Abundance has undergone major renovations as the colony's industrial town. As the oldest dome, it needed a fresh look anyway. Abundance is now geared fully to its original purpose, the extraction and processing of metal deposits. It is the Pittsburgh of Mars.

Image

Park spaces have been done away with entirely, as has the old Circle diner; if you crave those things you need to walk next door to Carver. But most Abundance residents are factory workers or miners, and for them, the full-sized bar is all they need.

Image

The old, small Machine Parts Factory was no longer suitable for the colony's needs. It's been replaced with a larger facility which is the centerpiece of Abundance (and a major power hog). Miners extract metals outside the dome, and these are processed straightaway into machine parts for the use of everyone. On a planet of regular dust storms and meteor strikes, replacement parts are always in high demand.

Image

One such meteor took out the original wind farm near what is now Unity. Rather than rebuilding on the site, plans are underway to construct a new, larger wind farm on a nearby plateau. Wind turbines gain a bonus at higher altitudes so plateaus are good spots to raise them.

Image

Although I accidentally left the interface on, I could hardly pass on the aftermath of Abundance getting smacked.

Meteors cannot destroy domes, thankfully, but they do cause a fracture which must be patched with spare polymers. Till then the dome is safe to live in (though stressful for the residents); while it's leaking oxygen, there's enough new air being pumped in to compensate.
Image

Mechanical Ape
User avatar
Posts: 454
Joined: Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:23 pm
Gender: Male

Re: The Pale Red Dot: A Surviving Mars LP

Post by Mechanical Ape (?) » Wed Oct 14, 2020 8:37 pm

Image

When the power grid freezes in the next cold wave, requiring expensive maintenance, the colony is relieved to have been manufacturing its own electronics.

Yes, life on Mars is still a struggle, but even with the challenges it's more hospitable now than it's ever been.

Image

People do their jobs and come home at the end of the day.

Image

The neverending secrets of Mars are explored one by one.

Image

Children grow and learn with the support of their community.

Image

Serious discussion begins on the long-term project of terraforming. Is it possible to make the surface and atmosphere of Mars habitable to Earth life? Is it technologically practical to take this step? Is terraforming even ethical?

But these conversations are put on pause with the news from October 14, 2084.

Image

A pivotal event has punctured the weave of history. Events are now inexorably in motion.

From this moment, the Last War is inevitable.
Image

Fizzbuzz
User avatar
Stare Masters
Posts: 1001
Joined: Sat Oct 28, 2017 10:54 pm
Gender: Male
Location: TN
Contact:

Re: The Pale Red Dot: A Surviving Mars LP

Post by Fizzbuzz (?) » Thu Oct 15, 2020 9:44 am

First, I have to comment on the tone of the game's UI here:
Image
:ohboy: "Oooh, the Earthlings are at it again. Too bad for them!"

Is this a random event that kicks off a series of events after it starts, or something that always happens after a certain number of sols in each game?
Image

Mechanical Ape
User avatar
Posts: 454
Joined: Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:23 pm
Gender: Male

Re: The Pale Red Dot: A Surviving Mars LP

Post by Mechanical Ape (?) » Fri Oct 16, 2020 11:52 am

Fizzbuzz wrote:
Thu Oct 15, 2020 9:44 am
Is this a random event that kicks off a series of events after it starts, or something that always happens after a certain number of sols in each game?
What we're seeing is this playthrough's Mystery, a unique event chain which kicks in around midgame to provide a fun little storyline for the player. There are 12 possible Mysteries and these run the gamut from harmless to challenging and from mundane to 2001-level weird. You might encounter an alien artifact, deal with a rogue AI, cure a virulent space plague or maybe everyone just has strange dreams for a while. Personally I prefer the more challenging ones.

By default the Mystery you get is random, but you can select one manually at game start, or disable them altogether. For this playthrough I chose "The Last War", one of my favorites -- I mean you just can't beat those stakes. What could a tiny group of Martian colonists possibly do to save (or doom) an Earth on the brink of nuclear annihilation? We'll find out. And at the end of it all we'll get a late-game tech as a reward.
Image

Post Reply